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Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

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swindon
4 posts
Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

Hi

Planning a trip to Roanoke next year either spring or Autumn, anyone suggest a good railfan hotel,also any suggestons for unmissable attractons nearby, thinking of going to the Dirty Dancing Location Hotel

many thanks

geoff

can be skyped

geoff & maria swindon UK

Lakeland, TN
Destination Expert
for Tennessee
Level Contributor
2,767 posts
102 reviews
1. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

Hi,

You might check this out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hotel_roanoke

Salem, VA
Level Contributor
323 posts
8 reviews
2. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

Hi Geoff & Maria!

Spring and autumn are both very beautiful in the Roanoke Valley. The fall foliage is quite beautiful and we typically have warm days and cool nights. However, one should not discount spring because we have every shade of green covering the mountains and lovely blossoms on the dog wood and redbud trees.

The historic Hotel Roanoke would be a great place for a rail fan. It is located within walking distance of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Center in the Square, and the Taubman Museum of Art. Taking a ride up to the Mill Mountain Star will provide you with an excellent view of the various rail yards in the downtown Roanoke area. The concierge at Hotel Roanoke can give you directions.

If you decide to visit the Dirty Dancing location, you’ll head to the Mountain Lake Hotel in Giles County, VA. The trip should take you about one and one half hours by car from Roanoke. The lake level has some geographical mysteries behind it, which you can read on the Mountain Lake Hotel website www.mountainlakehotel.com.

You will pass Virginia Tech on the drive to Mountain Lake. You may be interested in walking around the campus, touring Smithfield Plantation House, and perhaps visiting the memorial and the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention. If you are interested in visiting Virginia Tech, send me a pm and I’ll be happy to provide you with more information about parking and touring the campus (I’m not a tour guide or anything, just an alumnus).

Cheers!

Salem

swindon
4 posts
3. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

mnay thanks

geoff

swindon
4 posts
4. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

thats great info, many thanks, geoff

:>)

swindon
4 posts
5. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

checked thh hotel roanoke site, very impressive but a bit too expensive any other suggestions for a rail fan hotel, perehaps im lookin for something along the holiday inn, days motel type accomodation

sadly!!!!!!!!!!!

geoff

SW VA
Level Contributor
1,599 posts
18 reviews
6. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

One thing you should know, if you are coming in the autumn you will be running into Va Tech's football season. All the hotels are more expensive at that time of year, even in Roanoke in my experience.

There is a nice bed and breakfast in Salem, on main street... I just can't remember what it's called??? Anybody else local know what I am talking about??

There are several nice, more budget friendly hotels options in Roanoke. I like the Hyatt Place hotels. I love the way they are set up and it's very close to the airport and Valley View mall.

SW VA
Level Contributor
1,599 posts
18 reviews
7. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

It's called The Inn at Burwell Place... there isn't a recent review but I have always heard good things about it. Anybody else???

By the way, this is not as close to the airport or the big malls but it's another option for you to check out.

Virginia
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
Level Contributor
6,257 posts
15 reviews
8. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

Mountain Lake Hotel was so beautiful when the lake was there. It keeps going down to a puddle now. There's cracks in the bottom and some sort of drawing out of the water. There is a fix that has worked in every other lake that the fix has been tried but someone told me one of the trustees says such a fix wouldn't be "natural". Hey, the lake isn't natural...it's manmade. It was in the scene where the dad is sitting on a wide dock in a chair with autumn leaves around and looking out at the lake and his daughter walks up to him. (They must have an ulterior motive) Still a great old hotel to explore and nice surroundings.

Salem, VA
Level Contributor
323 posts
8 reviews
9. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

I've also heard good things about the Inn at Burwell Place in Salem. Another nice B&B in Salem is the Old Manse. The advertised rates seem reasonable.

There are several hotels near the airport/shopping mall in Roanoke. The Hyatt Place is quite nice. Also check out the Courtyard and the Clarion. If you’d like a room with a kitchen, the Residence Inn is lovely. Some of the rooms even have a fireplace. There's a Holiday Inn Express located about 1 mile away from the Hotel Roanoke. The address is 815 Gainsboro Road, Roanoke, VA 24016. I have business associates who've stayed there because of its proximity to the downtown area and the reasonable government rates. Don't leave valuables in your car at this hotel - there's a bit of petty theft in that section of town.

My father-in-law, a retired CSX Railroad Engineer would be ashamed of me if I failed to mention the town of Clifton Forge, VA. It is about one hour north of Roanoke and is home to the Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society. The CSX yards are still in operation. You can grab a bite to eat at the Bullpen – it’s a diner/Inn where the railroad workers rest between runs. Check out www.cliftonforge.org. I’m sorry I forgot to mention this in my earlier post.

Roanoke, Virginia
Level Contributor
119 posts
34 reviews
10. Re: Rail Fan Hotel, suggested locations please

I would definitely also recommend the Hotel Roanoke. They sometimes run weekend specials that are cheaper than what the website shows. Also - spring will be much less expensive usually. Fall is Virginia Tech football season and all the hotels get pretty expensive on the weekends there are games. The hotel has lots of old railroad history in it - pictures and mementos from the days when it was owned by the railroad. It would also save you the hassle of driving into downtown from another location - you would be able to walk to all of the downtown destinations.

Other good locations would either be near Valley View Mall/airport area which is a short drive from downtown and all the rail attractions or in the Tanglewood mall area (there is a Holiday Inn there). Both areas are less than 10 minutes' drive away from the transportation museum, downtown shops and restaurants, the farmer's market, the rail yards, etc. The Hotel Roanoke is really the only hotel right downtown within walking distance, though.

Make sure you take a trip up to the famous Roanoke Star - there's a lovely park up there as well as some hiking trails and a small but nice zoo. For a railfan, the tranportation museum downtown is a must see as well as the Rail Walk where you can walk along the tracks downtown and pass several interactive exhibits - great for kids to make the lights come on, or the horn blow, etc.

I would avoid the Holiday Inn Gainsboro or the Days Inn Civic Center. The neighborhood changes a bit and those locations are not the best. Like another poster said - there tends to be some petty crime in those spots and they are located on a very busy highway. Overall Roanoke is a VERY safe city compared to many but I would avoid that spot if possible.